FILE - Michelle Ugenti-Rita

Michelle Ugenti-Rita speaks at FreePac 2013.

(The Center Square) – Several of Arizona's professional licensing boards will have more civilian input after Gov. Doug Ducey enacted legislation to reform who can staff them.

Sponsored by Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, Senate Bill 1274 will remove some of the stipulations for sitting on non-medical licensing boards, specifically the state's Board of Technical Registration, Board of Barbers, Board of Cosmetology, Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers and the Board of Massage Therapy. The governor will remain in charge of appointments.

These boards are responsible for hearing matters relating to the professional licensing status of workers in their respective fields and the meting out discipline. 

Ducey signed a licensing reciprocity bill in 2019 that accepted out-of-state occupational licenses, making Arizona the first state to do so. 

In debate, Democrats said the legislation would lead to catastrophic consequences by removing the professional requirements from the Board of Technical Registration. 

"The United States and other developed countries infrequently have structural collapses, dangerous roads, dangerous infrastructure, and products precisely because here, in Arizona and the United States, we have high-quality engineers performing these designs," Rep. Isela Blanc, D-Tempe, said during debate on the bill last month. 

They cited bridge collapses and other infrastructure failures as a consequence of removing professionals from the industry the boards regulate. 

Supporters of the legislation said the point of the reform was to ensure the boards weren't adding requirements that only benefited their profession monetarily at the expense of the consumer. 

"What this does is makes sure that the public, for whom all of this regulation is created in the first place, has the ability to check the worst impulses of people who are essentially industry insiders," said Paul Avelar, managing attorney of the Institute for Justice's Arizona office.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.